PDT and USACE host the Afghan first business matchmaking event
On 7th February 2012, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Peace
Dividend Trust hosted an Afghan First Business Matchmaking Event in Kabul Afghanistan.
USACE is dedicated to the promotion of small and large businesses around the world, with a single-minded goal to develop fluid and
productive partnerships. Their programs in Afghanistan include the National Army, National Police, Operations and Maintenance, MILCON, Infrastructure, Services and planning.
In 2012 USACE will award 81 contracts throughout Afghanistan, worth approximately $ 1.2B.
USACE follows the Afghan First policy, which is a program that allows Afghan owned businesses to be awarded USACE contracts. The program provides Afghan business owners and workers with a viable source of income while improving their skills and help grow the economy of Afghanistan.
The full-day event connected approximately 130 Afghan-owned construction sector businesses from Kabul and the Northern provinces with tangible business opportunities from USACE. Afghan businesses operating in the construction sector have the greatest potential to create jobs, boost private sector development, and foster individual capacity development. At the event buyers, including USACE and other international military forces, had the opportunity to discuss their upcoming contracting opportunities face-to-face with the Afghan companies.
Because PDT’s business directory is searchable by sector and province, the database made it much easier for USACE to find all of the relevant Afghan businesses to invite to the event. PDT also helped USACE by confirming the attendees through its call center agents.
The goal of the event was not only to strengthen the linkages between Afghan businesses and USACE, but also to connect Afghan
businesses from different provinces to develop partnerships, joint ventures and sub-contracts. Developing B2B connections is even more important on the eve of the international community’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The event allowed Afghan-owned businesses to market their goods and services directly to USACE and other Afghan businesses, enabled USACE to gain insight into the breadth and quality of services offered by Afghan companies, and provided a forum for USACE to share and discuss their upcoming contracting opportunities, many of which
are located in the Northern provinces.
The event had two main parts. First were presentations by Captain Keith Alaniz of USACE and Hamidullah Farhat, business advisor for Kabul
Regional Contracting Center (KRCC). Mr. Farhat explained all the procedures and requirements of KRCC. Captain Alaniz gave information about USACE’s current business opportunities and the requirements of USACE. He also gave examples of previous contracts awarded by USACE to Afghan businesses and the parts of their proposals that most helped them win those contracts.
PDTs deputy country director, Akbar Ahmadzai spoke about the importance of the event and moderated it as well.
The second part of the event was the open networking session, in which the Kabuli and provincial businesses shared their ideas and discussed
the current business opportunities and challenges. The Afghan businesses were seated by province at small roundtables. The Kabuli businesses rotated from table to table on a structured schedule, networking with those businesses operating in provinces which were relevant to their business needs. This controlled networking method increased the efficiency and quality of the interaction for both business owners from Kabul and the Northern provinces. Other stakeholders were welcome to observe the controlled networking from seats within the ballroom. Businesses also filled out the survey forms that were distributed at the beginning of the event by PDT.
At the end of the event there were four information tables for PDT, USACE, Afghanistan Builders Association (ABA) and KRCC, who provided
information to the businesses.
Overall, the event was a success and provided an opportunity for Afghan businesses to make connections that will help their companies win
contracts in the short-term and grow their businesses in the long-term.